In OTT, it is important to look at the intent of the creator: Jameel Khan
Known for his supporting roles, Jameel Khan has worked in quite a few hit Bollywood films, most notably – ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Tiger Zinda hai’, among others. Khan made his debut in films with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’.
Khan had also appeared in some ads; he is remembered as the pesky neighbour in an Asian Paints ad, asking, “Sunil babu, naya ghar, nayi gadi”.
A versatile actor, Khan is also deeply associated with theatre and recently made his foray into the OTT space with the slice-of-middle class-life web series ‘Gullak’ on SonyLIV.
Adgully spoke to Jameel Khan on his progression as an actor, his favourite role, how OTT is widening the horizon for actors and more. Excerpts:
Tell us about your journey as an actor.
I am from a small town called Bhadohi, in Uttar Pradesh. I started acting while still in school. After failing to clear my engineering entrance test, I joined Aligarh Muslim University, where I joined a local theatre group and also became one of the founding members of Aligarh branch of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA).
My love for theatre and acting brought me to Mumbai. I have done theatre with Naseeruddin Shah in Mukti, as well as some international productions. Through theatre, people recognised me and I got offer for films.
My journey is a sweet and sour one – more of sweetness as I never saw life in a bad way and the work that God blessed me to do, I accepted it. The journey in any profession is filled with ups and downs and bad times don’t pass quickly. I never let myself down and never blamed my destiny and accepted whatever I got with the grace of God. I don’t have any such story and neither do I want to make one. Many people say that they have struggled a lot; I think the struggle is a very overrated word and people just make it up. If there is no struggle in a person’s life, then he can never become strong. My life has always been like that of the common man. It never happened that I did not have a shelter, neither did I have to beg. I have a true living like a common man who has his basic needs.
Out of the roles you have essayed, which one is your most favourite role?
It is difficult to point out a single role, but people have liked me most in the roles that I essayed in ‘Loins of Punjab’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. People have also liked me in the small character roles that I have played. People have also liked my performance in theatre. Whatever I am today, it is only because of theatre, as it gave me a platform to show my skill and talent.
With the advent of OTT platforms, how has an actor’s journey changed?
There is now one more avenue to explore and more opportunities through the OTT platforms. It has a wide horizon compared to television as you have limited episodes and the work is on point and focused. It is a free medium, where you can present a variety of content. In OTT, there is a comfort zone for the audience as they can see whatever they want and the button is in their hands.
What are the different/ difficult roles which the OTT platforms have offered you?
Since it is a new medium, everyone wants to get into it as a lot of good content is created and put out there. There are a lot of people doing it for the sake of being different. It is important to look at the intent of the creator.
Where do you see yourself in the next two years?
I don’t think anybody can predict tomorrow, but I would hopefully see myself in a much better position, doing more fantastic, interesting and powerful roles so that I can expect myself to be better on the screen and people can see the versatility of an actor.